MEMPHIS, Tenn.–Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby says the conference won’t expand and is happy with ten teams.
Three weeks after the Playoff Committee left TCU and Baylor out of the inaugural playoff, Bowlsby says the conference is not going to react by adding two more teams. By NCAA rule, a conference with less than 12 members cannot hold a championship game.
Bowlsby said, “You might think it makes easy sense to add two teams…there are just so many elements to consider when talking about expansion.”
“Elements” easily translates to “dollars.”
“Ten is what we are. I think the status quo with all ten schools committed with grants of rights for all of our media. We’re distributing the largest amount per school of any of the leagues right now,” explained Bowlsby.
The Big 12 announced this year that its members split $212 million. Adding two teams would decrease each school’s share by approximately $4 million.
In the last round of conference expansion, the Big 12 lost Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas A&M. It added West Virginia and TCU. The latter team, by blowing out Ole Miss 42-3 in the Peach Bowl, won revenge of sorts against the Playoff Committee that snubbed them. The lack of a game crowning a conference champion, the committee reasoned, partly justified TCU’s strange fall from the third seed to the sixth after the end of the regular season.
The expansion conversation may come to an end when the NCAA decides on the Big 12’s request to end the rule calling for a minimum of 12 teams for a conference to play a championship game. According to Bowlsby, the request hasn’t encountered “any significant resistance” and he expects a ruling within the next six months.
He cautions, however, that the conference is not locked in to the idea of playing a championship game and believes the Big 12’s current round-robin format is best.
“Honestly, I don’t know that we would play a [championship] game even if we got it changed,” says Bowlsby. “Competitively, we think that having everybody play everybody is the right way to determine a champion. If a couple of things go differently in the last week [of the regular season], we have two teams in the playoff.”
In the wake of the Big 12’s snub by the Playoff Committee, Commissioner Bowlsby told Breitbart Sports, “I really like the four team playoff… As you look at it, college football has never been more highly watched than it is right now.”
Follow Daniel J. Freeman on Twitter @djfree